WHY DO WE NEED OPEN DATA?
New age India is witnessing a youthful change, which, if harnessed progressively, will take India to the echelons of a progressive Sustainable Nation, that other nations will witness in awe. To make this happen, as patriot citizens it is our right to draft realistic civic goals for our civic society and implement the same on a strong foundation of participative democracy.
To begin with it is our primary duty as local citizens and civil society first track where money from aid, tax or natural resource revenues are going and whether it’s leading to improved sustainable communities on a global scale. Communities are directly affected by the usage of natural resources, agro resources, industrial resources, energy resources and capital resources of the nation and as citizens we do not have proper access to our national budgets.
Secrecy around how public money is used can lead to corruption and poor quality of public services. It can mean the difference between throwing the garbage on the street and it being collected and utilized as recyclable resource for the same community. Between a child receiving global class education and becoming an asset to the community rather than being trapped and becoming a burden for the nation.
Lets all bring together the building blocks of active participation and create an India that we should have. The only factor that can make this happen is transparency in local governance. one of the key components for transparency is access to information, and we the citizens ourselves are holders of information.
We must come together and run campaigns that expose corruption or make the case for innovative investments in garbage management, food security, urban biodiversity design, eco agriculture, health and safety, traffic management, sustainable urban/rural infrastructure or simply build trust in the ability of ordinary people to influence government decisions. To do so the following are important facts for implementation:
1. Access to information is not enough on its own. Change needs a real-localized campaign driven by that information and civil society champions who can use their status and networks to draw national attention to the issue and apply pressure, working with local communities.
2. Make budget information is available in a machine-readable format, the data can be turned into apps and infographics that help make it understandable. But this in itself does not mean that people will take action.
3. Levels of understanding within local communities are often low. Investing in data literacy and providing budget information in local languages means that local communities can use the information to demand change.
4. Collaboration between citizens and government officials can lead to improved government auditing and accountability. Real-time feedback through apps can provide governments with the information they need to improve services.
5. If integrated into well-devised programmes, mobile and web technology can help citizens access information and report problems in service delivery at a scale, cost and speed never possible before.
7. Identifying political champions or supporters in government sympathetic to opening data is critical to policy change.
All of these factors depend on the context, the history of the country, the political space to use information and the will of government officials to help. These stories showcase some of the best examples of where citizen empowerment has led to change.
Bengaluru had its hay days but now its in deep may days with garbage issues, water scarcity, vanishing lakes, deforestation, corruption, infrastructure and many more. If change needs to happen in Bengaluru it is the people who nee to make it happen it is not Ngo’s and its project, corporates or its CSR initiatives or elected leaders.
The challenge we face is how do we move people from mere observers to participants, what are the tools that will enable Bengalurueans to participate in the governance process. As Bengalureans it is the well informed united power we hold to make sure that our elected leaders to keep their promises and deliver so join the action.
Lets all evolve into participating citizens for sustainable change. We have our goals and plans to build a global urban sustainable Bengaluru. Now we need to turn these words and plans into action.
Involve with us take a pledge that we shall no more be complacent Bengalureans, We shall draw from the power of togetherness to structure an evolved Bengaluru, participate to become citizens of change.